The Trouble With Unconstitutional Wars

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Our
foreign policy was in the spotlight last week, which is exactly
where it should be. Almost two years ago many voters elected someone
they thought would lead us to a more peaceful, rational co-existence
with other countries. However, while attention has been focused
on the administration’s disastrous economic policies, its equally
disastrous foreign policies have exacerbated our problems overseas.
Especially in times of economic crisis, we cannot afford to ignore
costly foreign policy mistakes. That’s why it is important
that U.S. foreign policy receive some much-needed attention in the
media, as it did last week with the leaked documents scandal.

Many are saying
that the WikiLeaks documents tell us nothing new. In some ways this
is true. Most Americans knew that we have been fighting losing battles.
These documents show just how bad it really is. The revelation that
Pakistani intelligence is assisting the people we are bombing in
Afghanistan shows the quality of friends we are making with our
foreign policy. This kind of thing supports points that Rep. Dennis
Kucinich and I tried to make on the House floor last week with a
privileged resolution that would have directed the administration
to remove troops from Pakistan pursuant to the War Powers Resolution.

We are not
at war with Pakistan. Congress has made no declaration of war. (Actually,
we made no declaration of war on Iraq or Afghanistan either, but
that is another matter.) Yet we have troops in Pakistan engaging
in hostile activities, conducting drone attacks and killing people.
We sometimes manage to kill someone who has been identified as an
enemy, yet we also kill about 10 civilians for every 1 of those.
Pakistani civilians are angered by this, yet their leadership is
mollified by our billions in bribe money. We just passed an appropriations
bill that will send another $7.5 billion to Pakistan. One wonders
how much of this money will end up helping the Taliban. This whole
operation is clearly counterproductive, inappropriate, immoral and
every American who values the rule of law should be outraged. Yet
these activities are being done so quietly that most Americans,
as well as most members of the House, don’t even know about
them.

We should follow
constitutional protocol when going to war. It is there for a reason.
If we are legitimately attacked, it is the job of Congress to declare
war. We then fight the war, win it and come home. War should be
efficient, decisive and rare. However, when Congress shirks its
duty and just gives the administration whatever it wants with no
real oversight or meaningful debate, wars are never-ending, wasteful,
and political. Our so-called wars have become a perpetual drain
on our economy and liberty.

The founders
knew that heads of state are far too eager to engage in military
conflicts. That is why they entrusted the power to go to war with
the deliberative body closest to the people — the Congress.
Decisions to go to war need to be supported by the people. War should
not be covert or casual. We absolutely should not be paying off
leaders of a country while killing their civilians without expecting
to create a lot of new problems. This is not what America is supposed
to be about.

See
the Ron Paul File

August
4, 2010

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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